The Argument from Fine Tuning

The Argument from Fine Tuning comes in a variety of forms, each making the claim that various features of our planet, our solar system, the universe (including a variety of physical constants) exist within an extremely narrow range of values that allow life to exist. They argue that these are each individually unlikely, and are virtually impossible collectively unless they have been intentionally fine tuned.

Some of the arguments are obviously absurd. One example is the fact that the Earth is located within the ”Goldilocks zone” in terms of its distance from the sun. If we were significantly nearer or farther from the sun, life as we know it would not be possible on Earth.

But when one considers the fact the universe has an estimated trillion trillion stars, most of them probably having multiple planets, there are likely many trillions of planets within their respective star’s Goldilocks zones. We’re here in part, because Earth just happens to be one of them.

Most of the other arguments involve discussions of some pretty advanced Physics. Very few of the proponents of the Fine Tuning Argument have any Physics education whatsoever. So they don’t actually understand the argument at all. They’re not equipped to evaluate it critically, so it sounds compelling, and, of course, it suits their agenda.

And while I have a BS in Physics, that degree (and the fact that it was several decades ago) doesn’t qualify me to address most of those arguments either. Fortunately I don’t have to. Qualified physicists have already done a pretty thorough job of refuting it. I recommend Victor J. Stenger’s ‘The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning’, which addresses each of the supposedly fine-tuned parameters, and shows that either the parameter could not have had any other value, or that the parameter could have varied far more than the Fine Tuning Argument claims, while still allowing for life in the universe.

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